Responding to this morning’s unveiling of the High-Speed rail route to Leeds and the Department for Transport’s preferred location of the city’s HS2 terminus, Metro Chairman Cllr James Lewis said,
“By reducing journey times from London to Leeds to just 80 minutes, and from Birmingham to Leeds to under an hour, freeing capacity on the existing local rail network and creating the region’s largest integrated transport hub, HS2 will be a huge boost to the local economy.
“But for the full potential of HS2 to be felt in Bradford, Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield and the whole City Region as well as Leeds itself, we need to ensure that by the time high-speed trains start arriving we have a local transport network that is ‘HS2-ready’.
“We want to see today’s announcement followed up by a commitment from HS2 Ltd. to invest in the existing rail network and unlock the £12bn of benefits identified in the Yorkshire Rail Network Study.
“This would mean quicker local journeys and improved business links, better commuter services, and more capacity for freight,” continued Cllr Lewis. “It would also ensure that having travelled from London to Leeds in under 1½ hours passengers would not then face a train journey almost half as long again to complete the less than 20-mile journey on to Halifax.
“As well as rail enhancements we need improvements in place on our road network and new transport developments to maximise HS2’s impact.
“Agreeing to this investment in these and other local transport improvements would demonstrate the commitment of HS2 Ltd, the Government and successive governments to ensuring the whole HS2 network goes ahead and that its full potential can be realised.”
Leeds City Council Leader Councillor Keith Wakefield said,
“We have lobbied long and hard for a high-speed rail link to Leeds and this is excellent news. It will strengthen Leeds’ position as the Northern transport hub and unlock major investment, jobs opportunities and connectivity to the rest of the country.
“The proposed station offers a unique opportunity to create a striking new gateway into the city centre, but will only work if the interchange links directly into Leeds Station and comes with a significant government package of investment in its infrastructure, road and rail links to the rest of the city region area.
“HS2 could be pivotal in driving our plans to regenerate the city centre’s South Bank but the government needs to ensure any disruption to communities is minimised during the construction of both the line and the station.”
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, said,
“This is fantastic news for the city - as a powerhouse of the UK economy Leeds connectivity with London and the rest of the world is vital to drive long term investment and jobs growth.
“Leeds is a city moving forward with confidence and the station investment will be pivotal in advancing key regeneration projects and positioning Leeds as a city with global ambition.”
Leeds City Region LEP Chair, Neil McLean said:
“Today’s announcement on the location of a station in the heart of our city region is great news for our businesses and the economy.
“HS2 will bring real benefits to all our cities by freeing capacity on the existing local rail network and improving connections to the capital and European markets, which in turn will shape business investment decisions and enhance our competitiveness on the world stage.
“However, in order to ensure that this investment makes a real difference to our economy, it needs to be supported by rail and road enhancements that will aim to improve connectivity between our cities and towns and we need it delivering as a priority.”
Len Cruddas, Chief Executive of the Leeds, York & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce said,
“This Chamber has lobbied long and hard for a high speed link to the eastern side of the country and to Leeds in particular and welcomes today’s announcements because they provide, for the first time, specific details of the Government’s preferred route and station locations. The Chamber believes that High Speed Rail will contribute to the continued growth of the City Region’s economy by providing improved connectivity with regional, national and international markets as well as further enhancing the competitive advantage of the area. Today’s announcements will provide increased certainty that High Speed Rail will be a reality for the City Region and the Chamber will continue to work with partners to ensure that the maximum benefits of High Speed are achieved by the city and beyond"
Mr Cruddas mentioned that the announcements also marked the start of a consultation about the route and station locations for High Speed Rail in the North and Midlands and that the Chamber will continue to discuss High Speed Rail with the business community and make sure its views are represented at the very highest level.
The DfT’s Investing in Britain’s Future document, published today says, 'A new station in central Leeds, alongside the South Bank area of the city centre. This would be joined to the existing station via a dedicated pedestrian link, making it just a short walk between the two. This transfer time could be further reduced by the introduction of moving walkways. Leeds station offers connections to a number of regional rail destinations such as Bradford, Halifax and Castleford, as well as to the city’s extensive bus network. There would be immediate access to this station from the M621 (Junction 3), providing connections with the city’s ring roads and regional motorways. There would also be ample car parking provided at the southern entrance for those not arriving on foot or by public transport.'
High speed rail is an engine for growth says Transport Secretary Patrick Patrick McLoughlin
Read the Yorkshire Rail Network Study Conditional Output Statetment (opens in new window).